Australians Battle Major Financial Stress

Australians Battle Major Financial Stress

A growing number of Australians are under financial stress, a report has found. According to a survey of nearly 3,500 adults published by the Australian National University (ANU) on Thursday.

It said that about 25.1 per cent of Australians were struggling to make ends meet on their current income. It is the highest portion of the population since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.

More than half of the participants in the lowest income bracket said they were struggling financially compared to 5 per cent of those in the highest income bracket.

The survey found Australians work more hours on average than prior to the pandemic.

Participants in the survey were now working 22.6 hours every week on average – up from 21.9 hours in February 2020 and 18.5 hours amid COVID-19 restrictions in May 2020.

However, despite working more incomes have fallen. In October, the average household income of participants was 1,629 Australian dollars (1,034.8 U.S. dollars) per week – a 3.1 per cent decline from April.

“These levels are much lower than before the pandemic, Matthew Gray, the co-author of the study, said in a media release.

“For example, in February 2020, the average household income was almost 1,800 Australian dollars (1,143.4 U.S. dollars).

“In spite of Australians working more on average, they have told us that what they earn now buys them less in the face of rising inflation and living costs.

“This is putting them under increasing financial stress.’’

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported in October that the consumer price index (CPI) rose by 7.3 per cent in the 12 months to the end of September – the highest annual inflation figure since 1990.

According to the ANU survey, 56.9 per cent of people consider rising prices a very big problem up from 37.4 per cent in January.

“Clearly, the cost of living is making it tough for many Australians in spite of our economy and society coming out of lockdowns and opening up,’’ co-author Nicholas Biddle said.

“As the government aims to increase the well-being of all Australians with its first budget, cost of living and financial stress should be high on their agenda. # Australians Battle Major Financial Stress

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